Should you be splitting wood in the rain?
It is best to avoid splitting wood in the rain as there is an increased risk of danger such as slipping and falling over sharp objects like an axe or maul. If you really have to split wood in the rain, make sure to wear rubber gloves for increased grip and a rubber handle will also help.
Some safety precautions to consider.
Working in the rain is uncomfortable and because of this, it tends to encourage an element of haste in getting things done and getting out of the rain.
Added to this, chances are, that if you are heading out to split wood in the rain there is some element of urgency about it. So, what are the safety precautions you need to be aware of to reduce the risks?
Firstly, things are going to be wet and slippery. That means the logs are going to require additional care in handling because they are going to be slippery. Some woods have an additional feature of becoming slippery with a soapy type of texture when wet so take extra care.
Wearing gloves is a good idea. Leather gloves become quite slippery when wet so gloves with rubber grips are going to be more helpful.
With rain, the temperature will no doubt be on the decidedly fresh side and cold fingers are not what is needed for splitting timber so gloves will not only provide a safer grip but also keep your fingers warm.
Using an Axe or a Maul in the rain.
There is an element of heritage and tradition about splitting wood as the pioneers of days gone used to do it but sadly, in the rain, holding on to history is going to limit your ability to hold on to the wooden handle of your axe or maul.
Wooden handles are no good in the rain. Even on a good day, sweaty palms make it difficult to hold on to the axe. The big danger, apart from the axe taking off on a brief and dangerous flight, is for the axe to strike the log at an angle other than ninety degrees.
The result of such a blow will be either for the axe to bounce up off the log or for the log to go sliding off in a sudden sideways jump. Both consequences are better avoided so, in the rain, a non-traditional synthetic non-slip handle is the way to go.
Splitting wood with a mechanical splitter in the rain.
Conventional gas powered engines aren’t really that happy in the rain and if water gets in around the spark plug the engine may stall which will bring your splitting adventure to an abrupt halt. Moving out of the rain into a shelter may also be problematic if there is insufficient ventilation.
Gas powered machines in unventilated areas are not what safety regulations would advise and you should take heed of the warning prior to being asphyxiated.
One definite advantage of an electrically powered splitter is that it can be used indoors as there are no exhaust fumes to be concerned about. So, you can move your splitter out of the rain and happily go on splitting logs and best of all, keeping dry inside the shelter.
Does rain on split wood cause any damage?
There are two scenarios to consider here. The first is if you are splitting green logs then the rain is going to have an almost zero effect on the wood except for the fact that if you are going to be stacking the wood you will have to take extra care about allowing for gaps to promote air movement around the split logs.
If the wood has already been seasoned and is dry, then the brief sojourn in the rain will not alter the moisture content significantly. The trick here is to get the split logs stacked as soon as possible out of the rain. The wetness is superficial and will dry off pretty much within a couple of hours of sunshine or wind.
The rain will have little effect on the performance of the splitter regardless of the logs being seasoned or not. The rain may make for slippery handling of individual logs, but gloves will go some way in making the handling a little easier.
Some added safety measures.
Shopping malls are serious about putting up signs warning visitors to be careful around wet floors. ‘Slippery when wet’ is a common warning and splitting wood in the rain should have a similar warning.
Standing on an unseen split log is normally unpleasant but doing so when it is wet and slippery is dangerous. Add to this scenario sharp instruments and equipment and it becomes quite lethal.
Best of all splitting logs in the rain is something that should be avoided but if times are desperate please make sure you wear proper equipment to minimize the safety risks involved.